Kobe Bryant played six minutes in the Lakers first exhibition game in London, after which he sat with ice on his knees.
Londoners chanted his name in the second half, but they got more Pau Gasol. Kobe played the six minutes he did out of obligation to the fans, his knees need more rest and recovery following offseason surgery.
Kobe said his knee was “extremely, extremely painful during the NBA Finals.” Said he feels better, but is at about “60%” tonight.
Kobe Bryant: “I wanted to get up and get in” when the chants came. “But I had the ice on the knees. Couldn’t get back in.”
Kobe did drag those knees to a finals MVP performance, but it’s another sign these Lakers are built to win now — the next handful of years — and then the window closes. Kobe is 32 with a lot of miles on him, Derek Fisher is 36 and Gasol, Artest, Odom, basically all the key Lakers outside Andrew Bynum are 30 or older. The Lakers may be younger than the Celtics but really only by a couple years.
Kobe will play sparingly in the preseason. Come Oct. 26 and the opener against the Rockets, expect 30 some minutes. Whether his knees are ready or not.
DeMarcus Cousins says Mavericks’ rumored interest flatters him, but he loves Kings
The Mavericks’ long-rumored interest in DeMarcus Cousins took its most direct public turn before the season, when Dallas signed Cousins’ brother, Jaleel Cousins. Jaleel is now on the Mavericks’ D-League affiliate, and I bet he will remain there as DeMarcus approaches 2018 free agency.
So, DeMarcus Cousins, what do you think about the Mavericks’ long-rumored interest in acquiring you?
“It’s flattering,” Cousins told me, with a laugh, after the Kings’ Wednesday shootaround at AAC. Then, turning serious, he added of the Mavericks, “I respect them.”
“But,” I said, “I’ve also heard that you like it in Sacramento.”
“No,” Cousins corrected, “I love Sacramento.”
Cousins is getting good at this, toeing the line between appreciating another team’s interest and expressing his satisfaction with the Kings.
And give Cousins credit. He keeps producing at a star level for a team that hasn’t provided him with the proper support. Sacramento again appears headed toward the lottery, even as Cousins averages 29-10.
Questions remain, though: How much of Cousins’ attitude is him trying to make the best of an inescapable situation, and will expanded options in the summer of 2018 test his loyalty?
LeBron James dunks, struts past camerapeople and toward crowd, spooks fan (video)
NEW YORK (AP) — Derrick Rose is missing the New York Knicks’ game against Cleveland because of lower back pain.
Rose left the Knicks’ victory over Miami on Tuesday in the third quarter with back spasms. Coach Jeff Hornacek says Rose still felt sore on Wednesday when he came in and met with team doctors, so they sent him for an MRI exam to make sure there was no structural damage.
Rose is averaging 16.7 points and this is the first game he’s missed this season.